posted Jul 28, 2000

Radio Userland Personal Commentary7/28/2000; 3:59:51 PM I'm waiting for Radio Userland. From an examination of the source code as it comes down over Pike, it looks like the "Next Song" feature, if you choose to have randomized playing, 'just' hunts for a random song, with no other criteria.As I posted in the discussion group yesterday, I've found an acceptable quality of MP3 encoding and have been converting my collection to MP3 for listening at home and at work. The problem is that the WinAMP playlist algorithm is just like the one Userland currently seems to have implemented, assuming it doesn't change before release. (Please take careful note of those qualifications! I don't speak for Userland!) It simply picks a random song out of the list. If you play a song "A", then the random selector plays "Q", when the random selecter goes to pick the next song, "A" has as much a chance to come up as anything else, despite the fact you just listened to it.I'd like to re-write the selection routines. My collection is 'eclectic', containing classical, 'oldies', some New Age, some electronica, and who knows what it will contain in the future? While I like each of these genres, and am open to other new ones, I find it jarring to stick all of them together into the same pot. A chunk of a Mozart concerto, stuck next to rock ballad, stuck next to some New Age thing, then to hard rock, it's very jarring, not pleasent.What I'd like to do is implement the ability to use the outline groupings as hints about the actual structure of the song's relationships to each other, and create a sort of "stickiness" within those groups. Once the player starts playing in the outline header called "Oldies" (or "Exciting"), it will quite likely stay there for a while, unless it happens to jump out or it runs out of songs in that section. I'd also like to keep track of the last N songs played, and avoid repeating them (perhaps tie it to the number of songs in the player queue as a ratio, like "Do not repeat until half of the rest of the collection has been played"). Finally, I'd like to be able to specify that a section of MP3's should be played in sequence and all in a row (for instance, Pink Floyd's "The Wall" might benefit from this treatment (don't know, never heard it), or many symphonies, which are intended to be heard all four movements in succession). In a sense, this allows binding multiple MP3s into one concrete song unit. In practical terms, this means that once the "classical" music starts playing, it's likely to continue playing. If you specify Beethoven's Ninth Symphony to be played together in sequence (a good idea, BTW), and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony gets selected randomly, the whole thing would play non-stop. After that, the check for 'stickiness' in classical might fail, and you might jump out to Hard Rock, and hang around there for a while. (Of course, you don't have to sort by genre... you can sort by anything you want.)It'll complicate the interface a bit, but it'll be the best darned playlist on the planet (for me, anyhow) when I get this going. I'm interested enough... I just hope I can get iRights's technology nailed down enough to distribute it as a theme first, then I could concentrate on this. (I've got sort-by-date working on a test page (took more work then I'd like), and I'd like to be able to use the querystring to pass arguments to the script so I can actually link to sorted, filtered pages, although that can wait.)Have a nice weekend!ps... I'm getting really used to the keyboard shortcuts I've added to the edit box, esp. the link one... if a link is in the clipboard, adding it is a matter of SHIFT-CTRL-ARROW-KEYS (to select the words), SHIFT-CTRL-L (link), CTRL-V (paste), ENTER, and I've linked something. If you'd like to add it to your Manila site for your own use, please contact me... it's relatively easy.


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